The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) hosted an event in Edinburgh showcasing their work supporting the Armed Forces Community in Scotland…

The event was attended by over a seventy people and saw members of the Scottish Parliament – including MSPs Keith Brown and Maurice Corry – as well as policy makers and service deliverers come together to network and learn about the findings of two new FiMT funded reports, Call to Mind Scotland and Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities in Scotland. The findings from the influential Our Community – Our Covenant report were also presented at the event.

The Call to Mind Scotland report, presented by lead author Dr Jon Bashford, highlighted that while Scotland has one of the most robust mental and related health support structures for veterans in the UK, there are gaps in provision and it identifies specific areas where further improvements could be made. The overall aim of his report was to review the mental health and related health needs of veterans and their families in Scotland, and to consider opportunities for further development.

The Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities in Scotland report, presented by Debra Allcock Tyler, called for more transparency about the finances and functions of Armed Forces charities in Scotland and dispelled some public misconceptions about the third sector. It is the first report to focus specifically on armed forces charities registered in Scotland, which follows on from the Sector Insight, UK Armed Forces Charities report, published in November 2014 – and will help to inform Scotland’s policy direction and those working within the charity sector. It delves into the finances, purposes and functions of over 300 armed forces charities, including those operating on both sides of the border. The report focuses on how charities in Scotland are categorized, what provision they make for their beneficiaries, and offers an overview and analysis of these charities.

The Our Community – Our Covenant report, which was presented by Phil Swann (and published in August), suggested areas where the delivery of local Covenant pledges could be made. The report’s recommendations are based on examples of best practice from across Great Britain and apply to Government, local councils, the Ministry of Defence, military charities and the Armed Forces community itself.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive FiMT says: “We were absolutely delighted with the number of people who came to our event, and their enthusiasm and commitment to supporting the Armed Forces Community in Scotland. The aim of FiMT is to provide independent, evidence-based knowledge that can be used to influence and bring about change where needed, from policy to service delivery. The detailed evidence in these three reports offers important and unique insights into the Armed Forces Community in Scotland, and how it is supported by military charities, the NHS and local councils.

"Scotland provides a great example in many areas; but there is still much more that can be done, and I would urge all those involved to consider the findings carefully. We very much hope that we have provided credible evidence and will act as a valuable catalyst to encourage further partnership working, collaboration and effective communication.”

You can read the reports here.